Adaptive management using multiple barriers to control tastes and odors

Lawrence A. Baker, Paul Westerhoff, Milton Sommerfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Many US municipal water suppliers using surface water encounter musty and/or moldy taste and odor problems, and two compounds - 2-methylisoborneol and geosmin - are usually to blame. To help reduce taste and odor problems in the Phoenix, Ariz., metropolitan area, an adaptive management framework was developed during the course of a three-year case study. The project utilized an extensive monitoring program, rapid feedback (via a weekly newsletter), and extensive dialogue (through biannual forums) to allow flexible response to changing circumstances. The project also used a multiple barrier approach, taking advantage of the configuration of the Phoenix-area water system to use appropriate barriers in the supply reservoirs, canals, and treatment plants. In this article, the authors outline the basic concept of adaptive management and how it can be applied to regional water management strategies to address taste and odor problems as well as many other water quality issues. The approach developed - the utilization of multiple barriers in an adaptive management framework - can readily be used by other utilities that seek to improve water quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-126+14
JournalJournal / American Water Works Association
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology


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